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College of Sciences and Mathematics hosts South’s BEST Robotics championship

Published: 12/14/2015

BEST Robotics is a national robotics program for middle and high school students that culminates in one of three regional championships, including South’s BEST, which is hosted by the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “BEST” stands for “Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology,” and the South’s BEST championship is headquartered at Auburn University. This year the championship featured the top 55 teams from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.

During the South’s BEST championship, teams competed in a series of head-to-head matches on a playing field designed for this year’s game titled, "Pay Dirt." The challenge was for each team to create a robot that could repair an underground mine, and at the same time, extract five lucrative materials at various depths beneath the surface, namely coal, iron, aluminum, copper and lithium.

In addition to the robotics competition, teams competed to receive awards in other categories, such as engineering design notebook, marketing presentation, team exhibit, interview, and team spirit and sportsmanship. Awards were given based on criteria, such as demonstrated teamwork, a positive attitude and enthusiasm, school and community involvement, and creativity.

This year, Starkville High School received the highest award presented at South’s BEST, the first place BEST Award, which is given to the team that most embodies the concept and spirit of the competition. The winner of the BEST Award is judged on a combination of project engineering notebook, marketing presentation, team exhibit and interview, and team spirit and sportsmanship.

Also of note, Mike Fogle, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, was recognized with the Jim Westmoreland Memorial Judges Award for his continued service as a volunteer judge during the competition.

Now in its 23rd year nationally, 2015 marked the 15th year of the South’s BEST championship. The BEST Robotics program is the only such program in the nation that is available to all schools at no cost. The not-for-profit, all-volunteer program challenges students to design, build and market a robot to use in a six-week-long series of competitions, culminating in the South’s BEST championship.

The primary objective of the BEST Robotics program is to: provide students with a real-world engineering experience that incorporates the practical application of math and science; prepare students to be technologically literate and thus better prepared to enter the workforce; help students develop leadership, project management, teamwork and organizational skills; and develop confidence and competence.

More information on South’s BEST, including a detailed game description and list of 2015 winners, can be found at this link: www.southsbest.org.

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